Saved or Lost? #25

Sunday, September 25, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

They were really saved people, just thinking and acting like lost people. Such is still true of millions! Had God’s Word rightly divided actually been received and believed in the heart, we the Church the Body of Christ would be walking in God’s power and will: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

While the number of genuine Christians has always been low, the percentage of confused Christians has always been high. It is not that “Satan is so powerful,” but rather they have allowed his evil world system to place them into a mold of silly thoughts and unsightly deeds. The Holy Spirit wishes true believers in Christ heed His advice in Romans 12:1,2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren [Christians!!!], by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world [it can happen!!!]: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

We close with the following true story. Several years ago, I tried to prevent it but nevertheless witnessed it come to pass. It was the fall of my spiritual mentor, someone under whose ministry I trained for over a decade and whom I still love dearly in the Lord. The entire controversy was painful and devastating beyond words, but, lest I fall with that grace Christian leader, I had to separate from him because of his apostasy (willful doctrinal error and unapologetic dishonesty and treachery). Indeed, we will meet in Heaven and only then will we be restored to fellowship, two saved men whose ministries Satan’s evil world system targeted—one destroyed and the other still not immune from ruin!

-FINIS!-

Saved or Lost? #24

Saturday, September 24, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The Apostle Paul’s last epistle (2 Timothy) communicates in chapter 4: “[1] I charge [instruct, order] thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant [ready, prepared] in season [convenient times], out of season [inconvenient times]; reprove [cause them to see], rebuke [criticize them], exhort [encourage, urge them] with all longsuffering [patience, put up with it, suffer it a long time!] and doctrine [teaching worth trusting].” Why?“[3] For the time will come when they will not endure [bear/tolerate/stomach] sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Timothy was (we are) to keep on with ministry (sound Bible teaching, Pauline, grace-oriented information), despite the prevalent doctrinal perversion and apostasy (forsaking the truth, whether in or out of churches). Saints, we should be willing to do what we can to reach confused Christians and confused non-Christians alike—and, yes, they are usually nearly impossible to distinguish from each other. I know it is easier to throw up our hands and give in, exclaiming, “This is just not worth it! No one wants to listen! We live in a hopelessly chaotic world! Let them all go to Hell in their ignorance!” Yet, the fact remains we have in sound Bible doctrine all the answers they need—and, if we escaped their errors, they can too… those few who want it. We should make special effort to be a light to them, if at all possible, particularly those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe.

Let us (finally) conclude this devotionals arc….

Saved or Lost? #23

Friday, September 23, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Scripture describes church leaders as God’s doorkeepers, watching over and guarding local assemblies from any and all error (re-read Acts 20:28-32!). If pastors, bishops, teachers, and preachers would believe and teach sound Bible doctrine (God’s Word rightly divided), false teaching (even non-rightly-divided verses) could be easily refuted. Neither these leaders nor their vulnerable congregants would be led astray.

Alas, for 20 centuries now, the professing church (especially its leadership) has paid almost no attention to the Lord’s special ministry through the Apostle Paul. Sure, they know of Paul, and a great many actually study and quote his writings, but nearly all people throughout church history have made Paul’s ministry a continuation of the 12 Apostles’ ministry, a mere commentator on “the church Jesus founded in Matthew to John,” an extension of the prophetic program, thereby hiding and destroying the very reason for Paul’s ministry (to operate the mystery program, separate and distinct from prophecy—to form the Church the Body of Christ, separate and distinct from the nation Israel).

For 2,000 years now, to Satan’s delight, we have wasted an unfathomable amount of time and energy teaching “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:3,4)—too willful and proud to change our course even up to this present hour. Behold, the dismal results! So many souls profess “belief in Christ,” but it is extremely difficult to discern who is a confused Christian (bound for Heaven, yet thinking like someone headed to Hell) and who is a confused non-Christian (bound for Hell, and lacking discernment to realize it).

Verily, verily, the Lord reads the hearts of all, and He knows the difference between a true (albeit misinformed) member of the Body of Christ and just some lost member of a counterfeit group. Brethren, we need to make sure we are walking in the spiritual light that we have, for, if we are grateful, we will gain more understanding concerning God’s will for us.

Let us (finally) summarize this devotionals arc….

Saved or Lost? #22

Thursday, September 22, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Re-read Acts 20:28-32, Paul counseling the church elders of Ephesus: Take heed [Watch out!!!! Beware!!!!] therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous [savage, merciless] wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul recognized the hazards were real. People not only outside the church—but inside it too—would seek its ruin. Individuals promoting sundry belief systems would corrupt God’s people, seducing them with foreign doctrines, splintering them into innumerable groups. Paul spent three years cautioning these Ephesian saints. Now bidding them farewell, he “commend[ed] [entrusted for safekeeping] [them] to God, and to the word of his grace,” for grace (Pauline) doctrine would keep them spiritually strong and fit to resist Satan’s lies. Remember, sound Bible doctrine “is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Roughly six years later, as Paul awaits his martyrdom, he writes to Timothy in Ephesus. That epistle includes a horrible (!!) commentary: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me(2 Timothy 1:15). Christians in “Asia” (modern Turkey; included Galatia, Colosse, Antioch of Pisidia, Lystra, Derbe, Ephesus [!!!]—regions Paul’s ministry had reached for the last 35 [!] years) had predominately forsaken Paul. Yes indeed, the Church the Body of Christ was apostate (fallen from grace/Pauline truth) 20 (!) centuries (!) ago (!)….

Our three latest Bible Q&As: “What are ‘sheaves?,’” “Who or what is ‘Belial?,’” and “What is a ‘concord?’

Saved or Lost? #21

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Whether a Christian’s flesh or a non-Christian’s flesh, it is the same Adamic (sin) nature. Non-Christians cannot help but sin because that is their only nature. Contrariwise, we Christians have two natures, so it is our choice whether or not we will believe sound Bible doctrine in our heart: “[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16-18).

Saints, unless we walk according to the indwelling Holy Spirit’s present ministry (grace not law, the Lord’s words in the Apostle Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon!), we will be just as much outside of God’s will as non-Christians. Only when we have a renewed mind will we think like Father God has designed us in Christ to think.

The Holy Spirit through Paul counseled the elders of the Ephesian church in Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Now, let us fast-forward five or six years….

Saved or Lost? #20

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Considering the plethora of verses we have surveyed thus far, dear saints, it should not astound us when we receive news of yet another person abandoning sound Bible doctrine for an alternative “belief system.” It is entirely possible for genuine Christians to be deceived (today’s Scripture), for Satan’s lie program employs various schemes and scams that can fool even the most spiritual believer. If the “mightiest” Christian (extremely learned in Bible verses, such as a pastor or teacher) can fall, the unskilled/ignorant (most church members!) are even more liable to fall. Such a tragedy can easily come to pass.

Remember, even Satan’s ministers use Bible terms such as “Jesus,” “spirit,” and “gospel”—and 2 Corinthians 11:3,4 was warning believers in Corinth. Keep reading that context: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel [surprise]; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” In fact, the Devil will encourage “righteousness”self-righteousness appearing to God’s righteousness because it is promoted in religious or “Christian” (HA!) church settings (where non-rightly Scripture is used, or church tradition entirely replaces Scripture).

The trickery is so extensive that those souls caught in the trap of 2 Timothy 2:26 will be most combative if we reach them with sound Bible doctrine. To admit Satan has confused them all along (and for so long) in church, is a horrifying thought (yes, I know all about that firsthand!), so they “cope” by remaining where they are (recall the king-turned-beggar happy where he is!) and dismissing you with the label of “narrowminded, fanatical, troublemaking church-splitter!” Mindful of this, Paul inquired rhetorically of the Galatians (4:16): Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

Let us be on guard….

Saved or Lost? #19

Monday, September 19, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Once more, 2 Corinthians 11:3,4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” We can talk about “the gospel” and yet not refer to Paul’s Gospel currently in effect.

Galatians 1:6-8: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed [avoided].” Comparing this to Acts 15:1-5, Galatians 4:21, Galatians 5:1-12, and Galatians 6:12-15; we realize a works-religion “gospel” message had misled the Galatians.

Paul preached the Gospel of Grace (“Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day”—1 Corinthians 15:3,4) to evangelize heathen Gentiles. Once Paul left those regions, “Judaizers” (Jewish denominationalists) would enter and confuse his grace converts with a performance-based acceptance system: “You need to be physically circumcised to gain God’s favor” (Biblical [Exodus 12:48] but not dispensational [according to Galatians chapters 4–6 cited above, inapplicable to us in this the Dispensation of Grace or Paul’s ministry]).

They cancelled Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s cross (grace) by “supplementing” it with man’s religious works (legalism). Today, we are not being pressured to embrace physical circumcision. Instead, religious tradition would have us believe water baptism, confession of sins, commandment-keeping, Sabbath Day observance, and tithing will “enhance” or “impart” eternal life and make God “happy” with us. Indeed, friends, the spiritual traps are everywhere….

Saved or Lost? #18

Sunday, September 18, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Second Corinthians 11:3,4 again: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” We can talk about “the spirit” and yet not refer to the Holy Spirit’s current ministry (Pauline doctrine).

Romans chapter 8: “[14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Fear is the Law’s motivation: “Obey God to get blessings, and disobey to receive curses” (Deuteronomy 28:1,2,15). However, the “spirit” or mental attitude (Ephesians 4:17-32, noting verse 23) the Holy Spirit imparts today is: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Grace, not law, teaches us how to live (Titus 2:11,12). Sin will defeat us daily only if we make our performance (law) the issue; Christ’s finished crosswork (grace working in us) makes us righteous before Father God.

Now, Galatians 5:18: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, leads no (!) one (!) to be under a performance-based acceptance system today (“work for God to accept you”). Remember, the Galatians were thoroughly confused here (today’s Scripture), Paul therefore asking in verse 21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” That is, “Were you not paying attention when I taught you how Law and Grace are totally incompatible?!” (Read Galatians 4:22–5:26.) Two billion (!) church members, 20 centuries later, are still bumbling and fumbling and stumbling here….

A Grace Study Bible

Monday, August 1, 2022

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV).

Today, we reflect on 10 full years of the arC Ministries’ Grace Study Bible Project!

Some 100 years ago, the Scofield Study Bible was published. It was a work that popularized—not invented—dispensational Bible study. For a century, the Church the Body of Christ has used this monumental aid to edify itself. It was (and still is) useful in recovering precious Bible truths that had been lost for centuries, doctrines still pushed aside by denominational hierarchies that prefer to be the “authority” with their “tradition of men.”

Ten years ago today, after much prayer and consideration, I began the formation of a new grace study Bible. Using the King James Bible, my goal in this project is to build on Dr. Scofield’s foundation laid long ago. We are (and will always be) indebted to that brother for his faithful service, his submission to the Holy Spirit to produce a profitable study Bible. (Incidentally, Dr. Scofield led a missionary to Christ, that missionary led a preacher to Christ, that preacher led a woman to Christ, that woman led Mom to Christ, and Mom led me to Christ.) What took Dr. Scofield decades to learn, we can acquire in a fraction of that time. Brother Scofield did not live long enough to progress any further in Bible understanding, but in the century since he has gone to heaven, a faithful remnant within the Body of Christ has expanded upon Dr. Scofield’s insightful notes. We recognize where he was wrong in certain areas, and we can improve those areas in our understanding and study.

In brief, some stats about our grace study Bible. We seem to be roughly 85 percent completed with it. How many more years it will take remains to be seen, but rest assured, what cannot be condensed into marginal notes or footnotes, will be, Lord willing, expanded into a full-Bible commentary book series! Stay tuned in the coming years and thank you for your prayer in this regard! 🙂

* You can read more about our Grace Study Bible Project here.

Bible Q&A #980: “Can you explain ‘bethink?’

Get Them to Think!

Friday, July 29, 2022

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 KJV).

Let us stop and think: may we get them to stop and think!

I just spoke with a Christian brother who came to trust the Gospel of Grace no more than 10 years ago. He explained how he is growing in the Scriptures rightly divided and trying to reach his family members with sound Bible doctrine. Except his wife, his relatives still belong to his former works-religion “Christian” cult. His daughter is particularly opposed to Christianity, and has no interest in the Bible. Nevertheless, he used his renewed mind to better approach her. Recently, he was having difficulty with an electronic machine he had purchased. When he asked her for advice, she directed him to read the instruction manual. He responded, “If you want to know how life works, you need to read the instruction manual—the Holy Bible!” While she is still lost, she certainly stopped and thought of the parallel.

Long ago, when I was just a few years into the ministry and recounting my “adventures” in college and elsewhere, a much older Christian brother (in ministry far longer than I) gave me some counsel I have never forgotten. “Shawn, you do not have to convince them. Just get them thinking about the truth!” Even if it is a single Bible verse, or just a phrase from the Scriptures, if we can see how it applies to the people we reach, then it is our privilege to share it with them. In doing so, they will gain a chance to learn something they have likely never considered before. As long as we are repeating the words of the Holy Spirit as found in the rightly divided Scriptures, He will do the rest. In the words of another Christian brother, “Let the lion out of his cage, and he will take care of himself!” Just remember, dear brethren, if we only give the Holy Bible a chance, it will revolutionize us and those around us throughout the endless ages to come. Try it and see!

Our latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘cumbered’ mean?” and “Can you explain ‘holden?’